That was the week in racing – a quick look back at horse racing in the past seven days.


Well the main news last week had to be headed with the good stuff, namely a class meeting from York that had just about everything the punters could have wanted, be that on course (for the lucky ones), or at home (for the rest of us).

Australia in action – a very special horse but why not the Arc?

From a betting perspective, favourite backers actually came away with a small profit (OK so only £3.37 to level £1 stakes), with six jollies, a joint favourite, and a co–favourite of three all scoring – a rare occurrence if memory serves, and at least we had the last laugh on the bookmakers for a change, all be it only just! As for the individual performances, the obvious ones all deserve another mention so that is exactly what they will get.  Wednesday was Australia Day (and you thought that was on the 26th of January), as Aidan O’Brien’s latest talking horse landed the odds on in the style of a very decent animal in the Juddmonte International, and if his handler’s assessment that he needed the run was half accurate then he must be some horse. Sadly, it appears the Arc is off of his agenda which is a real shame as that is the one true test for the three year olds these days (no one seems to chicken out of that race unlike every other), though with the buyers more interest in speed than stamina, I gather he will remain at a mile and a quarter for this season at least. Talking of stamina, the Great Voltigeur was run earlier on the card and taken by Postponed for Luca Cumani (whose horses are back in form at last), but as he is unlikely to take in the St Leger we learnt precious little for the final Classic and Kingston Hill (a non-runner here) actually remains favourite for not showing up on the day!

Thursday was Ladies Day in my book (well, fillies at least) with Tiggy Wiggy putting up a very brave effort when taking the Lowther Stakes, making all and staying on strongly on her first attempt over six furlongs to earn a 25/1 quote for the 1000 Guineas next season. Personally, I doubt she would get the mile but you never know and there are worse chances at the price for those who like a little ante post dabble.  Sadly, one lady I have a lot of time for said goodbye to her unbeaten record as Oaks winner Taghrooda came off a clear second best to the Ryan Moore ridden Tapestry who was always doing enough for her half-length success.  Some say the odds on favourite was in front too soon, but I just felt she looked a shadow of her former self and there is a possibility she is over the top for the season, though if anyone can bring her back to her peak then John Gosden is the man.

Friday saw a frankly amazing effort by both Richard Hughes and favourite Sole Power as he somehow weaved through for an unlikely success in the Nunthorpe Stakes at odds of 11/4.  With 50 yards or so to go he seemed stuck behind a wall of horses before bursting through almost casually to win by half a length. You had to see it to believe it to be fair as he took this Group One almost with contempt and I hope to head to Hong Kong in December to back him there as he looks to avenge a defeat in the Hong Kong sprint to the top class Lord Kanaloa last season who really must be some horse!

Charlie Hills – having a good run with his juveniles.

Finally, Saturday rounded off the four-day meeting though for reasons unknown I always see it as the weakest of the bunch – maybe because Newmarket and Goodwood put on two pretty decent cards as well? For excitement it was hard to beat with plenty of photo finishes (nerve racking if you had been punting though?), with Muhaarar the one to take out of it for me. Trained by Charlie Hills who has his horses at the top of their game, especially his juveniles, the son of Oasis Dream showed plenty of determination to get to the front where it mattered in the Gimcrack Stakes and although I will not be backing him ante post for any classics, she will be on my short list for the big Autumn events and is one we all oppose at our peril.

Away from York, and in no particular order, events worthy of note included A P McCoy riding the fastest ever 100 winners in a season (how does he do it year after year?), Jamie Spencer retiring from the saddle for an “office job” with Qatar Racing, Andrea Atzeni stepping up to take that particular job – oh and Warwick holding their last ever flat race after over 300 years – some call it progress but only time will tell on that one?


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